North Texas Dentistry Volume 9 Issue 3 2019 ISSUE 3 DE - Page 22

compliance Compliance advisors are receiving more and more calls regarding what type of mask to wear in a clinical setting, depending on one’s job Which Mask Should You Wear? by Lee Slaton description and the type of procedures being performed. This matters. First things first. No matter what the type of mask you wear, in order to protect yourself, it’s important to do these things: • • • Change your mask after every patient. Change your mask every 20 minutes if you’re working in an environment with high aerosols production. Wear the mask correctly. This is extremely important. There’s a front and back to a mask. One side should go toward your eyes, the other toward your chin. The mask should be pulled fully over the nose, mouth, and chin. Three Barrier Levels The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) defines three mask levels (1, 2 and 3) dental professionals should consider when performing different functions or proce- dures. Level-1 masks are considered low barrier; level-2, mod- erate barrier; and level-3, high barrier. OSHA doesn’t dictate which level of mask should be worn dur- ing dental procedures; it only states masks should be worn. In some literature, it refers to numbers that would indicate the properties of level-1 masks are sufficient. But as is sometimes the case, OSHA requirements—and/or CDC and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) recommendations — don’t always line up with the latest and best practices. 22 NORTH TEXAS DENTISTRY |